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The ''Twenty-Four Histories'' (), also known as the ''Orthodox Histories'' (), are the
Chinese
Chinese
official dynastic histories covering from the earliest dynasty in 3000 BC to the
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol Empire, Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last ort ...

Ming dynasty
in the 17th century. The
Han dynasty The Han dynasty (, ; ) was an imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 9 AD, 25–220 AD), established by Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao) and ruled by the House of Liu. The dynasty was preceded by the short-lived Qin dynasty (22 ...

Han dynasty
official
Sima Qian
Sima Qian
established many of the conventions of the genre, but the form was not fixed until much later. Starting with the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; zh, t= ), or Tang Empire, was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907 AD, with an Zhou dynasty (690–705), interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dyn ...
, each dynasty established an official office to write the history of its predecessor using official court records, partly in order to establish its own link to the earliest times. As fixed and edited in the
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty ( ), officially the Great Qing,, was a Manchu people, Manchu-led Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China and the last orthodox dynasty in Chinese history. It emerged from the Later Jin (1616–1636), La ...
, the whole set contains 3,213 volumes and about 40 million words. It is considered one of the most important sources on Chinese history and culture. The title "Twenty-Four Histories" dates from 1775, which was the 40th year in the reign of the
Qianlong Emperor The Qianlong Emperor (25 September 17117 February 1799), also known by his Temple name, temple name Emperor Gaozong of Qing, born Hongli, was the fifth List of emperors of the Qing dynasty, Emperor of the Qing dynasty and the fourth Qing empe ...

Qianlong Emperor
. This was when the last volume, the '' History of Ming'', was reworked and a complete set of the histories was produced.


Collection


Inheritance works

These works were begun by one historian and completed by an heir, usually of the next generation. *''
Records of the Grand Historian ''Records of the Grand Historian'', also known by its Chinese language, Chinese name ''Shiji'', is a monumental Chinese historiography, history of China that is the first of China's Twenty-Four Histories, 24 dynastic histories. The ''Records'' ...

Records of the Grand Historian
'', inherited from Sima Tan 司馬談 (father) by
Sima Qian
Sima Qian
司馬遷 (son) *''
Book of Han The ''Book of Han'' or ''History of the Former Han'' (Qián Hàn Shū,《前汉书》) is a history of China finished in 111AD, covering the Western, or Former Han dynasty from the first emperor in 206 BCE to the fall of Wang Mang in 23 CE. ...
'', inherited from Ban Biao 班彪 (father), Ban Gu (son) by
Ban Zhao
Ban Zhao
班昭 (daughter/sister) *'' Book of Liang'' and '' Book of Chen'', inherited from Yao Cha 姚察 (father) by Yao Silian 姚思廉 (son) *''
Book of Northern Qi The ''Book of Northern Qi'' (Chinese language, Chinese: 北齊書, pinyin Běi Qí Shū), was the official history of the History of China, Chinese dynasty Northern Qi. It was written by the Tang Dynasty historian Li Baiyao (李百藥) and was co ...
'', inherited from Li Delin 李德林 (father) by Li Baiyao 李百藥 (son) *'' History of the Southern Dynasties'' and '' History of the Northern Dynasties'', inherited from Li Dashi 李大師 (father) by Li Yanshou 李延壽 (son)


Related works

There were attempts at producing new historiographies after the Qing dynasty, but they either never gained widespread acceptance as part of the official historical canon or they remain unfinished.


Modern attempts at creating the official Qing history

In 1961, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the declaration of the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...
(ROC), the ROC government in
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...

Taiwan
published the ''History of Qing'', adding 21 supplementary chapters to the ''Draft History of Qing'' and revising many existing chapters to denounce the
People's Republic of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population exceeding 1.4 billion, slig ...

People's Republic of China
(PRC) as an illegitimate, impostor regime. It also removed passages that were derogatory towards the Xinhai Revolution. This edition has not been widely accepted as the official Qing history because it is recognized that it was a rushed job motivated by political objectives. It does not correct most of the errors known to exist in the ''Draft History of Qing''. An additional project, attempting to write a ''New History of Qing'' incorporating new materials and improvements in historiography, lasted from 1988 to 2000. Only 33 chapters out of the projected 500 were published. This project was later abandoned following the rise of the Pan-Green Coalition, which sees Taiwan as a distinct entity from
Mainland China "Mainland China" is a geopolitical term defined as the territory governed by the People's Republic of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dep ...
, both culturally and politically. As such, it is argued that it is not the duty of the Taiwanese regime to compile the Qing history. In 1961, the PRC also attempted to complete the Qing history, but historians were prevented from doing so against the backdrop of the
Cultural Revolution The Cultural Revolution, formally known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was a sociopolitical movement in the People's Republic of China (PRC) launched by Mao Zedong in 1966, and lasting until Death and state funeral of Mao Zedon ...
. In 2002, the PRC once again announced that it would complete the ''History of Qing''. The project was approved in 2003, and put under the leadership of historian Dai Yi. Initially planned to be completed in 10 years, the project suffered multiple delays, pushing completion of the first draft to 2016. ''Chinese Social Sciences Today'' reported in April 2020 that the project's results were being reviewed.


Modern editions

In China, the
Zhonghua Book Company Zhonghua Book Company (), formerly spelled Chunghwa or Chung-hua Shu-chü, and sometimes translated as Zhonghua Publishing House, are Chinese publishing houses that focuses on the humanities, especially classical Chinese works. Currently it has ...
(''Zhonghua Shuju'') have edited a number of these histories. They have been collated, edited, and punctuated by Chinese specialists.Xu Elina-Qian, p. 19. From 1991 to 2003, it was translated from
Classical Chinese Classical Chinese, also known as Literary Chinese (古文 ''gǔwén'' "ancient text", or 文言 ''wényán'' "text speak", meaning "literary language/speech"; modern vernacular: 文言文 ''wényánwén'' "text speak text", meaning "literar ...
into modern
written vernacular Chinese Written vernacular Chinese, also known as Baihua () or Huawen (), is the forms of written Chinese based on the varieties of Chinese spoken throughout China, in contrast to Classical Chinese, the written language, written standard used during impe ...
, by
Xu Jialu Xu Jialu (; born 1937) was a vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and was head of the College of Chinese Language and Culture at Beijing Normal University. Life Xu was born in Beijing, though his ancestral hom ...
and other scholars.


Translations

One of the ''Twenty-Four Histories'' is in the process of being fully translated into English: ''
Records of the Grand Historian ''Records of the Grand Historian'', also known by its Chinese language, Chinese name ''Shiji'', is a monumental Chinese historiography, history of China that is the first of China's Twenty-Four Histories, 24 dynastic histories. The ''Records'' ...

Records of the Grand Historian
'' by William Nienhauser, in nine volumes.''The Grand Scribe's Records'' (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994- ) In Korean and Vietnamese, only the ''Records'' has been translated. Most of the histories have been translated into Japanese.


See also

*
Chinese classic texts Chinese classic texts or canonical texts () or simply dianji (典籍) refers to the Chinese texts which originated before the imperial unification by the Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty ( ; zh, c=秦朝, p=Qín cháo, w=), or Ch'in dynasty ...
*''
Draft History of Qing The ''Draft History of Qing'' () is a draft of the official history of the Qing dynasty compiled and written by a team of over 100 historians led by Zhao Erxun who were hired by the Beiyang government of the Republic of China (1912-1949), Republic ...
'', a continuation of the histories through 1911 *
History of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the reign of king Wu Ding. Ancient historical texts such as the ''Book of Documents'' (early chapter ...
*
Official communications of the Chinese Empire official communications in imperial China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the reign of king Wu Ding. Ancient historical texts ...
*''
Zizhi Tongjian ''Zizhi Tongjian'' () is a pioneering reference work in Chinese historiography, published in 1084 AD during the Northern Song dynasty in the form of a chronicle recording Chinese history from 403 BC to 959 AD, covering 16 dyna ...
''


References


Citations


Sources

*


External links


Chinese Literature The Ershiwushi 二十五史 "The Twenty-five Official Dynastic Histories" (zhengshi 正史)
Ulrich Theobold

{{Twenty-Four Histories Series of history books